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article imageJapan has ‘another burden,’ now dumps radioactive water in ocean

By Lynn Herrmann     Apr 4, 2011 in Politics
Tokyo - Japanese officials on Monday began dumping massive amounts of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean in order to create space for additional highly radioactively contaminated water, an act the Daiichi nuclear plant operator calls “another burden.”
The operator of the crippled Daiichi Nuclear Power Station has announced the dumping of 10,000 tons of radioactive water into the ocean, a move it deems necessary to create room for high level radioactive waste water.
According a TEPCO press release:
We think it is necessary to transfer the radioactive waste water to the Central Radioactive Waste Disposal Facility in order to store it in a stable condition. However, ten thousand of low level radioactive waste water has been already stored and we have to discharge the existing low level radioactive waste water to receive new liquids.
Agence France-Press (AFP) reports the new dumping procedure began shortly after 7 p.m. local time, and is expected to take several days. AFP noted a TEPCO official fought back tears during a television appearance, stating: “We have already caused such pain and nuisance to local residents. We cannot express how sorry we are to have to impose another burden.”
Yukio Edano, spokesman for the Japanese government, said there were no other options. “We have no choice but to release water tainted with radioactive materials into the ocean as a safety measure,” he said, according to AFP.
The reportedly low-level radioactive water has been hampering efforts to regain control of the facility that was crippled after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Kyodo News reports the dumping of the contaminated water from the plant’s wasted disposal facility into the ocean is necessary so TEPCO can fill the facility with highly radioactive water from the No. 2 reactor turbine building and an underground tunnel.
An additional 1,500 tons of radioactive wastewater near the No. 5 and No. 6 reactors is also being released into the ocean.
Partially melted fuel rods at the No. 2 reactor have caused highly radioactive water to accumulate in its basement, with radioactive iodine-131 levels of more than 10,000 times the legal limit found there,
“We must prevent radioactive water from spreading in the sea as soon as possible,” Edano said, according to Kyodo News.
Over the weekend, attempts by plant workers to plug the leaking of highly radioactive water into the ocean failed, Kyodo News reported. Those efforts included injecting a polymeric water absorbent combined with sawdust and shredded newspaper into pipes leading to the No. 2 reactor, where an eight-inch crack was discovered.
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